Thursday, November 14, 2013


I feel quite certain that if I went back and read my posts from hunting seasons in years past I would discover that I almost always get sick with something when my husband is gone on these week-long or longer trips.
Searching my soul, I do not think it is because of loneliness at all. I think it is a matter of feeling abandoned which of course is ridiculous because my husband has not abandoned me, but merely gone off for a few days to do something he loves. However, the issue of abandonment is one that I have been trying to deal with my entire life and I am aware of that and I know where it came from. It's no big mystery. When I was very young my daddy disappeared and my mother, although (mostly) was present in the physical sense, she was not extremely emotionally available. She had too much on her own plate and I know that and as an adult I even understand it and can empathize but again, knowledge of where and why doesn't always cut the anger or the fear, just as adding more and more water to a soup which has been overdosed with hot red pepper doesn't always make it fit to eat.

Soup. I've got soup on the brain.

I've got a pot of soup on the stove big enough and powerful enough to feed and cure an entire ward of the languishing ill. I loved making it. I love the way the knife blade slices through the celery, the carrots, the onions, each vegetable giving way to the edge with a different feel, the way the big knife I use to cut the greens bites through them with such a satisfying thunk. I love peeling and crushing clove after clove of garlic. I love gathering the greens in the garden: the mustards, the collards, and yes even the kale. I love the cutting up of the hot peppers into the tiniest, thinnest molecules of heat, even the way my fingers sting when I'm done. I get a thrill out of sharpening the knife enough so that when I cut the tomatoes the skin offers no barrier but splits beneath it with ease.
I have no patience for dull knives.
Show me your knives and I will tell you how serious you are about your cooking.

I drank tea all day as I made the soup, as I called the Dish people. The woman I got on the phone was wonderful. I explained what I had done already and how the second receiver was working fine and she said they would send me a new receiver and take some off of next month's bill for the two weeks of wonkiness we've experienced. I didn't even ask for that. I wasn't even on the phone long enough to ask her how the weather was. I sipped my tea (green with spearmint and peppermint) and explained the situation and then we were done and I hadn't even finished my cup.

Lis called and said she was on her way to Tallahassee to do a little recording and that she wanted to come by on her way home for coffee, for us to sit and swing our legs and chat for a few moments. I told her I was feeling a little sick and she said, "That's all right," and I'm glad she came. It was all rightness to see her, if only for a few moments. We sat on the back porch and heart-shared and I was so glad to see her.

I was so cold when she left and I took a hot bath and read and read and when I got out, I dug out one of my Goodwill cashmere sweaters and I'm wearing it now and thinking about abandonment issues and how guilty I feel because I've called Lily to tell her that I really don't think I can keep the boys tomorrow. I have barely done that in the four years since Owen was born and I keep thinking that I'll probably wake up tomorrow and feel fine and then she'll have missed a day of work for nothing and that's a lot of money. What if I don't have the virus? What if I just have the memory-ache-of-abandonment sickness?

Ah well. The universe probably doesn't care at all either way and sometimes, as Lis and I talked about today, we need to take care of ourselves.

And so I will eat some of that soup and get in the bed and read some more.

It's okay and the moon is shining down on all of us here on this tiny, fragile, miracle of a planet where life began and a soup formed from which it grew and expanded to form all of this from ferns to the giant redwoods, to spiders and camellias and garlic and collard greens, from the ant to the elephant, from the dumb stupid brain of the mighty dinosaur to the incredibly sensitive and clever fingers and thumbs and brain of the human to the unbelievably open, fragile and sometimes tender thing which is the human heart.

And the moon shines over it all, that blind, silent cold witness.
Which is beautiful, even still.

I have not been abandoned at all. I have been given this gift of time by myself to think and to be and to feel deeply. And to make soup. From which it all springs. And I know this is true, just as I know that sharp knives make good cooking, just as I know that life is too mysterious to get all worked up about.
And that beauty is to be found in all of it.


  1. Now that is a sermon. And you are very right, and sounds like you had the very kind of day you needed.

  2. Your words heal me today, and I think if I had a bowl of your soup, I'd give it to Sophie and she would be as well.

  3. I love your writing so much that I can't even begin to express it. But somehow I know you understand.

  4. SJ- I could have been a preacher if only I'd believed.

    Elizabeth- Wouldn't that be something? I wish with all of my heart.

    Lulumarie- I do and that makes me so very, very happy. And grateful.

  5. p.s. is that a passion flower blooming? this time of year?

  6. Lulumarie- Absolutely. Took that picture this morning.

  7. Wow. That is incredible. Mine bloom only late spring/early summer. You possess magic, in more ways than one, and that is a fact.

  8. This made me cry. I understand you and I send you love. And your writing is outrageously intense. Sweet Jo

  9. Beautiful! I just can't add anything else. Except that everyone needs time for a hot bath and a good book and some soup now and then, so don't feel guilty for not taking the boys. I'm sure Lily understands.

  10. Sometimes when I read you I just think of the word "sweetheart" because you make my heart sweet and you are one. Love the way you write about making soup. Hell I love the way you write about everything. And it was a comfort to me to hear about you slipping into that cashmere sweater. Reminded me of when I first met you here. I hope you feel better and rest up. And I know just what you mean. We are not abandoned. But it doesn't matter sometimes, we still FEEL it.

  11. Can you feel my arms gently around you with love? I am glad you are taking it slow. And making soup. These feelings that have been stirred up need to be honored, respected and allowed to pass on through. You have done that so beautifully in these words. I hope they helped lighten the ache somewhat. We're here.

  12. Being abandoned is one of my most primal fears - & I've never even BEEN abandoned! Your soup sounds like magic - & probably better for me than the cookie dough I just ate :)

  13. soup makes all things better.
    sending you well wishes and hugs.

  14. I had a bit of an "aha" moment reading this. Thank you for that. I hope you feel better soon.

  15. Lulumarie- Nah. It's just that the vine doesn't get enough sun so it blooms really late.

    Sweet Jo- I have no one here to dilute the emotion. It's odd but it's okay.
    Don't cry, sugar.
    Or do if you need to.

    Steve Reed- She does. And her sweetness about it all made me feel even worse.

    Bethany- Well, as you know, we have all of the ages we've ever been inside of us and sometimes the little child who wants her mother or her daddy just can't help but come forth.
    YOU are the sweetheart.

    Angella- All right. You made me cry there a little bit. I can only imagine your arms around me. Oh, Angella. Here are my arms around you.

    The Bug- Abandonment is probably one of all of our most profound and deep fears. Don't you think? If the tribe abandoned you, you died. And so forth.
    And why did you have to mention cookie dough?

    Ms. Yo- Why do your words comfort me so?

    Stephanie- Glad to be of service, sweet lady. And I'm fine. I promise you.

  16. It is hard to heal the wounds that are acquired so young and go so deep. Hugs to you.

  17. I surely get the abandonment stuff. It is a life long struggle for me because of some lacking I felt as a child, I guess. My parents were 40 when I was born. Maybe I feared that I would lose them? I know that was an issue along with worrying about my father's drinking. So I guess the abandonment came from a lot of those feelings. It takes work to get over that kind of stuff and yet, it can come out of no where and hit when my guard is down.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.